"We're going to eat for only $2 each for the whole day tomorrow!" I announce. "Do you think we can do that?"
"Yeah," the boy exclaims, "I think we can."
"If we stick to basics and don't have treats or things like butter I think we won't even go hungry." I add. "I'll start some bean soup in the crock pot tonight..."
"I don't like bean soup!" the Girl whines. "Why do we have to do this?"
"Do you know there are people who don't have any choice about what they eat?" I ask her. "There are families who just have one bag of millet, one bag of beans and that's all they eat until it runs out, every day. If they are lucky maybe they have some vegetables to go with it. Those people are actually the lucky ones. They have food stored up. Some people buy their food every day with what they are able to make that day and if they don't make any money they don't get any food. If they only make a little bit they only get a little bit of food."
"I didn't know that." she answers.
"But why do we have to do it?" the Boy asks again.
"Have you ever felt what it's like to have to eat the same thing day after day?" I ask him. "Have you ever felt what it's like to run out of food before you stop feeling hungry? Do you know what it's like to wonder if there will be enough food to eat today?"
He answers no to each of these questions.
"Do you think it might be good for you to feel that so that you can know what it's like to be another kid in the world who goes through that every day."
I can see the wheels turning, and it's enough of a reason for me.
It's not too late for you to join. The challenge is to eat for one whole day for only $2. Just to get the slightest taste of what it's like to be truly poor. What if you only ate what you made that day and if you didn't make anything you and your children didn't eat? What would that drive you to do that you wouldn't even consider when you are well fed and warm and content? I always think of the families in Thailand who sell their daughters and wonder just how long the hunger lasts before that is an option for them.
Truthfully, at $2/person for a family of 6 I'm not even worried that we'll run out of food. I've been cooking peasant food for so long we probably won't even notice, aside from the extras, butter, olive oil, tea with cream and sugar... that's $12 for the day and I can do that, I have to do with not much more than that very often.
Even so I wonder, as I plan my menu and total the items using the bulk rate I pay for flour and rice at Costco what sort of rate the person who buys their daily food every day gets. I think of other things like how often I wash my hands in the course of preparing a meal, every every snotty nose I wipe, and every time I go to the bathroom and I think about the woman who have to walk miles every day for water. How often does she get to wash her hands? I go crazy if for some reason the water is off in my house for even half an hour. Imagine not washing, ever.
So we will think about it, as we go about our day, with the abundance piled on the counters that we must not eat and the set in stone menu with no extras that we cannot deviate from and I think it will be worth doing for these the short people.
But since they don't want bean soup I'll make lentils instead, green for lunch, red dahl for dinner, with rice, and potatoes, and eggs for breakfast.
I'm jazzing up my challenge by trying to do it with real food and we have a guest coming for lunch. I've never had to consider eating less so a guest can have her fill before. But I know people everywhere have to make that choice. I'll let you know how it goes.